Joel Smallbone is an Australian singer and actor, part of the For King & Country duo with his brother Luke Smallbone. He has had several roles in Christian films.
Joel David Smallbone was born in Sydney, Australia, on June 5, 1984. As his father was a music promoter, he was born to a musical family, his sister Rebecca St. James was a Christian artist and speaker, and eventually, he and his brother Luke formed their own musical duo in the Christian genre. Interestingly, his brother-in-law is also a musician who used to be the bassist for Foster the People. Joel moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991. Some of his earliest experiences involved music, and Joel felt that music had chosen him, so he went along with it. When the family relocated to the U.S., it led to many opportunities traveling about and being exposed to all kinds of music that influenced and impacted the artist. David Smallbone, the father, had the opportunity to tour with musicians across the country and took Joel with him.
He started with background vocals for Rebecca, his sister, and doing work as a stage manager. Then, he started collaborating with Luke. They released their first EP in 2008 as Austoville. The EP was titled A Tale of Two Towns. The work landed them a contract with Warner Bros. Records. At this point, they changed their name to For King & Country.
The sound that Joel and his brother go for can be described as pop-rock, and there is a strong spiritual focus throughout all their work. They believe that merging the power of music and spirituality can impact a person enormously, changing themselves and being stirred to live a better life. Joel has received two Grammy awards in 2014. In 2016, he received another Grammy nomination.
Joel’s music is strongly inspired by his faith and carries powerful messages for the audience.
Joel Smallbone started acting professionally in 2014. First, he was cast as King Xerxes in The Book of Esther. Later, he played the role of Jake Reeson in Life a Country Song. Then, in 2016, he got the lead role in Priceless, where he played James Stevens. Priceless was a Christian drama about a man who inadvertently delivered women to sex traffickers and decided to save them at any cost. The film was inspired by true events and pushed Joel’s acting abilities.
Joel has had important roles in various Christian films.
Love’s To Blame was one of the earlier hits by Joel and was co-written with his sister Rebecca. It was featured on Crave.
People Change, another song from the Smallbone duo, was featured on The Vampire Diaries.
Ben Glover was their first songwriter and producer, who had previously worked with bands like The Backstreet Boys and Fireflight. Glover was the one who pitched the For King & Country name, which strongly resonated with their mission and vision.
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